Honiara : 29 October 2016
Letter to the Editor, Island Sun Newspaper.
I was pleased to read that the planned limited stage rearmament of the RSIPF does nor give the authority for the police to use guns at any time, but only as a means of last resort after all measures have been exhausted.
At the onset of my appointment as the Commissioner of Police in the Solomon Islands I laid down exact same orders and they are worth repeating.
ORDERS ON THE USE OF FIREARMS BY THE RSIPF.
"This order on the use of firearms is issued for the guidance of police officers engaged in current operations. They obviously cannot deal with all the circumstances in which it may be necessary to use a firearm on duty and they must therefore be considered primarily as a statement of the principles upon which you should act.
Every police officer must realize that these orders cannot override the law, and that if you are charged with an offence arising out of your use of firearms, it is for the court to decide whether, in the circumstances, your action was justified.
It cannot be too strongly impressed upon you how essential it is, not only to guard against the slightest misuse of your arms, but to observe the utmost forbearance that humanity and prudence can dictate, before incurring the moral as well as the legal responsibility of firing upon the people.
It should be constantly borne in mind that, however well justified you may consider yourself in firing, the act, whether it results in loss of life, or otherwise, your actions may become the subject of investigation.
You must therefore be prepared to prove that you acted with humanity, caution and prudence, and that you were compelled by necessity alone to have recourse to firearms. At the same time you must not be deterred from doing what, in the circumstances in which you are placed, appears to be absolutely necessary, as a last resort, in the interests of law and order."
I also commissioned a detailed report on the use of less lethal forms of arms and submitted this to the then SIAC government but it was ignored, as was the earlier full report I commissioned on the reform and restructuring of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).